NAPSNet Daily Report 16 June, 2008
Contents in this Issue:
- I. Napsnet
- 1. Six-Party Talks
- 2. G8 on DPRK Nuclear Program
- 3. DPRK Defectors
- 4. DPRK Human Rights
- 5. Inter-Korea Relations
- 6. US-ROK Security Alliance
- 7. US-ROK Trade Relations
- 8. Japan-Taiwan Territorial Dispute
- 9. Japan-PRC Territorial Dispute
- II. PRC Report
- III. ROK Report
1. Six-Party Talks
Yonhap (“S. KOREA, JAPAN, CHINA AGREE TO HOLD SIX-PARTY TALKS BY END OF JUNE: SOURCE”, Seoul, 2008/06/15) reported that the ROK, the PRC, and Japan have reached a consensus on resuming six-party talks by the end of this month, a diplomatic source said Sunday. “The three foreign ministers shared the assessment that after North Korea and Japan produced the positive outcome, the atmosphere for the six-nation meeting has almost become ripe,” the source said, requesting anonymity. In their trilateral meeting, Yu Myung-hwan from the ROK, Masahiko Komura from Japan and Yang Jiechi from the PRC also pledged their cooperation in promoting regional stability and preventing natural disasters.
2. G8 on DPRK Nuclear Program
Kyodo (“G-8 MINISTERS TO SEND STRONG MESSAGE ON AFGHANISTAN, N. KOREA”, Tokyo, 2008/06/16) reported that Group of Eight nations will aim to send a strong message when their foreign ministers meet in Kyoto next week for progress on the DPRK nuclear issue, Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura said Monday. Komura pointed to the DPRK as posing a major challenge to nuclear nonproliferation, calling for a strong message to urge Pyongyang to take steady steps toward abandoning its nuclear weapons and programs, and to deal with humanitarian concerns, including the past abductions of Japanese nationals.
3. DPRK Defectors
Associated Press (Kwang-tae Kim, “2 NORTH KOREANS DEFECT BY SEA TO SOUTH KOREA”, Seoul, 2008/06/15) reported that two DPRK refugees defected to the ROK by boat and were being questioned, an ROK Coast Guard official said Sunday. The two crossed the western sea border into ROK waters early Sunday, said an official who asked to remain unidentified, citing an ongoing investigation. “The two expressed their intention to defect to South Korea,” an official of the National Intelligence Service told The Associated Press.
4. DPRK Human Rights
Korea Herald (Lee Joo-hee, “U.S. COMMISSION FOCUSES ON N.K. RELIGIOUS FREEDOM”, Seoul, 2008/06/16) reported that a delegation of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom is in Seoul this week to mark the publication of its Korean-language report on DPRK religious freedom. Delegates of the commission, which acts as an advisory group for the U.S. Congress, visited the Unification Ministry and the Foreign Ministry on Monday. USCIRF chair Michael Cromartie and his delegation arrived in Seoul on Friday and met DPRK refugees over the weekend.
5. Inter-Korea Relations
Korea Times (Na Jeong-ju, “NK CALLS ON LEE TO HONOR ACCORD”, Seoul, 2008/06/15) reported that the DPRK called on ROK President Lee Myung-bak on Saturday to implement inter-Korean cooperation projects agreed in the Oct. 4 Joint Declaration signed by the leaders of two Koreas last year. “President Lee committed acts of treason by bring all inter-Korean projects to a halt,” it said in a statement released on the occasion of the eighth anniversary of the June 15 Joint Declaration. “Because of Lee, the inter-Korean relations are in deep trouble and the Korean Peninsula is in crisis again. Lee should apologize for his acts and reveal whether he is willing to promote inter-Korean cooperation.”
Korea Times (Na Jeong-ju, “DOWNSCALED EVENTS HELD TO MARK JUNE 15 SUMMIT”, Seoul, 2008/06/15) reported that the two Koreas Sunday opened a two-day celebration of the eighth anniversary of the June 15 Joint Declaration. Participants called for concerted efforts to resume the stalled inter-Korean dialogue and economic cooperation projects agreed on in 2000 between Kim Dae-jung and DPRK leader Kim Jong-il and in the Oct. 2007 summit between Roh Moo-hyun and Kim. About 450 representatives from the two Koreas and overseas Korean communities gathered in Mt. Geumgang and held a photo exhibition featuring traces of inter-Korean relations following the historic 2000 summit and other events. The two Koreas didn’t allow government officials to attend the celebrations.
6. US-ROK Security Alliance
Korea Times (Jung Sung-ki, “KOREA TO TAKE OVER 10TH, LAST SECURITY MISSION FROM US”, Seoul, 2008/06/16) reported that the ROK Air Force will take the lead in joint search-and-rescue operations with the U.S. Air Force on the Korean Peninsula beginning December as part of the agreed transfer of 10 major security operations from U.S. Forces in Korea (USFK) to the ROK. The day-and-night search-and-rescue mission is the last of the 10 security missions, including the patrol of the Joint Security Area in the Demilitarized Zone and counter-fire mission against the DPRK’s long-range artillery, to be transferred under the 2003 deal, the Air Force said in a news release. The ROK Air Force’s 6th Search-and-Rescue Group and the 33rd Rescue Squadron of the U.S. Air Force will conduct their last training exercise from Tuesday through Thursday in waters off the country’s western coast before the mission transfer, an Air Force spokesman said.
7. US-ROK Trade Relations
Associated Press (Foster Klug, “US, SOUTH KOREAN OFFICIALS END BEEF TALKS”, Seoul, 2008/06/16) reported that U.S. and ROK trade envoys broke off talks without resolving a crisis over the resumption of American beef shipments. ROK Trade Minister Kim Jong-hoon, who flew into Washington on Friday for discussions, was returning home, U.S. Trade Representative spokeswoman Gretchen Hamel said Sunday. However, the ROK Foreign Ministry issued a statement Monday saying the envoys had agreed to continue talking and that Kim, who was scheduled to head home, would instead remain in Washington.
Associated Press (Kwang-tae Kim, “LEE: SKOREA WON’T IMPORT OLD US BEEF”, Seoul, 2008/06/15) reported that ROK President Lee Myung-bak vowed Sunday not to allow the import of meat from older cattle. “The government stance is firm that beef from cattle older than 30 months will not be brought into the ROK in any case,” President Lee Myung-bak said in a meeting with an opposition leader. Lee said he has received a positive reply from the U.S. on measures under which the American beef industry would voluntarily not ship meat from cattle older than 30 months. “The two sides agreed to cooperate to produce a solution that can satisfy each other,” a Foreign Ministry statement said.
8. Japan-Taiwan Territorial Dispute
Agence France-Presse (“US ENVOY URGES TAIWAN, JAPAN TO SETTLE BOAT DISPUTE”, Taipei, 2008/06/15) reported that Stephen Young, director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), called Sunday for peaceful settlement of an incident in which a Taiwanese fishing boat sank after colliding with a Japanese patrol vessel. Young said that Washington would not interfere in the dispute between its allies Taipei and Tokyo. “But given the traditional close relationship between Taiwan and Japan, they should solve the issue in a peaceful manner.” Taiwan’s foreign ministry Saturday dismissed a Japanese government report saying captains of both the Japanese coast guard vessel and the Taiwanese fishing boat were suspected of “professional negligence and endangerment” in the incident. The ministry announced it was recalling its de facto envoy to Japan and demanded an apology and compensation from Japan for the loss caused to the captain. On Sunday, Taiwan’s coast guard filed a criminal lawsuit against the captain of the Japanese vessel over the incident.
Associated Press (Shino Yuasa, “TAIWAN SHIPS ENTER JAPAN WATERS”, Tokyo, 2008/06/16) reported that nine Taiwanese coast guard vessels entered Japanese waters Monday near disputed islands in the East China Sea to accompany a ship of protesters angry over the sinking nearby of a Taiwanese fishing boat, officials said. Japan denounced the incident as a violation of its territorial waters. Taiwan’s Coast Guard Administration Vice Minister Cheng Chang-hsiung said the protesters got less than two-thirds of a mile from an island in the chain, where they were blocked by nine Japanese patrol vessels. “We did not notify Japan of the operations beforehand because the operations aimed to maintain (Taiwan’s) sovereignty,” Cheng said in a televised news conference.
9. Japan-PRC Territorial Dispute
Associated Press (“JAPAN, CHINA AGREE ON GAS DEAL”, Tokyo, 2008/06/16) reported that Japan and the PRC have agreed on a gas exploration deal in the East China Sea, news reports said Monday. Kyodo News agency said late Sunday that the two nations are expected to announce the deal as early as this week. Kyodo said the PRC agreed to let Japan invest in its gas exploration. The Nihon Keizai daily said the PRC and Japan would equally share profits from the gas project.
II. PRC Report
10. PRC Earthquake
First Financial Daily (Zhang Ke, “EXPERTS CALLED TO SUSPEND LARGE DAM CONSTRUCTION APPROVAL IN GEOLOGICAL INSTABILITY DISTRICT IN SOUTHWEST”, 2008/06/13) reported that recently in Beijing, experts of geology, water conservancy, environmental protection and other aspects, called that it was a top priority to investigate all large dams in earthquake-stricken areas in Sichuan. Before the risk assessment is completed, dam construction approval should be suspended. Among those exposed issues in the earthquake disaster, the dam safety issue is very prominent, and in case of a reservoir accident, the resulting loss of life and property may be even more than the earthquake.
11. PRC-EU Trade Relations
China NPO, http://www.chinanpo.gov.cn/web/index.do (“TEXTILE INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION: EU’S NEW DERECTIVE TO AFFECT CHINA’S TEXTILE AND LEATHER EXPORT”, 2008/06/12) reported that the EU directive of restriction on the use of perfluorooctane Sulfonyl Compounds (PFOS) will be formally implemented on June 27. According to the directive, PFOS in finished product for sale on EU market can not exceed 0.005 percent of the general quality, which indicates the EU’s official ban on PFOS using in products. It is understood that a number of export industries in the PRC will be affected greatly. The most seriously affected should be textile and leather export enterprises, as PFOS are used widely in the textile industry.
12. Japanese Artillery Shells in the PRC
Xinhua Net (Liang Shubin, “42 ARTILLERY SHELLS LEFT BY JAPANESE ARMY FOUND IN HEILONGJIANG”, 2008/06/12) reported that recently during the hidden danger investigation of police in East County of Heilongjiang Province, 42 artillery shells left by Japanese army during the period of the Japanese-dominated state of Manchukuo were found in a recycling center. At present, the shells have been properly safeguarded, and will be destroyed. According to reports, two warheads had come off the shells with the powder exposed. High temperature or any impact could trigger an explosion. Once into the melting furnace, the consequence could be unthinkable.
III. ROK Report
13. ROK Policy Toward DPRK
The Peace Foundation (Cho Sung Ryul, Institute for National Security Strategy, “TO RESURRECT KOREAN PENINSULA PEACE VISION”, 2008/06/13) wrote that the Korean peninsula peace vision stated by the Grand National Party peace unification special committee last July can be alternative for restoring inter-Korean relations. The ‘vision’ makes ‘human rights’ and ‘peace’ for basic rules for policy toward the DPRK, and pursues gradual changes in the DPRK system, disregarding early collapse or maintaining the status quo. It is different from indiscreet national mutual assistance theory or international mutual assistance, in that it seeks solution by different methods for different types of issues: solving international issues such as nuclear issue by international cooperation, and national issues such as creation of national community by inter-Korean cooperation. Thus relations between the election slogan of the Lee Myung Bak administration and the conclusion of policy toward the DPRK can be harmonized by adopting a ‘Korean peninsula peace vision’ as an entrance and the ‘denuclearization-opening-3000 strategy’, which includes the inter-Korean economic community, as an exit.
Hankuk Ilbo (“DPRK-U.S, DPRK-JAPAN PROGRESS IN RELATIONS; ACTION IS REQUIRED”, 2008/06/16) wrote that following U.S.-DPRK relations, Japan also gained a breakthrough of its deadlock with the DPRK. The DPRK-Japan meeting is regarded as notice of rapid progress in Korean peninsula affairs generally, including the relationship between the two countries and six-party talks regarding DPRK nuclear issue. The ROK government should actively respond to the situation, and have a conversation with the DPRK as soon as possible.
14. Inter-Korean Relations
Seoul Shinmun (“6.15 8th ANNIVERSARIES, INTER-KOREAN RELATIONS ARE STUCK”, 2008/06/16) wrote that the DPRK is becoming more open to the U.S. and Japan. This will also have positive influences on the six party talks. While the DPRK is becoming more open with those countries, still inter-Korean dialogue is stuck. The Lee Myung-bak administration originated the stalemate, by disregarding the 6.15 joint declaration and 10.4 summit declaration, which contains the actual practices for the 6.15 declaration. The Lee administration should consider a more flexible and practical policy toward the DPRK.
PRESSian (“‘LEE MYUNG-BAK’s ADMINISTRATION’S NONATTENDANCE AT 6.15 IS CONSERVATIVE AMATEURISM”, 2008/06/15) reported that the the National Unification meeting celebrating the 8 th anniversary of the 6.15 joint declarations was opened in Mt. Kumkang’s Hyundai Culture Hall with 430 representatives from both Koreas and overseas participating. While government level conversation was severed, this event was held by a private organization and the representatives promised to put into practice the 6.15 joint declaration and 10.4 declaration.